Virginia districts drawn to help GOP

Gerrymandering - the dark art of shaping legislative districts to give one party an electoral edge-gave Republicans an outsized advantage in races for the U.S. House and state legislatures in 2016, according to an analysis by the Associated Press published Sunday.

The AP scrutinized the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election previous year using a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage. The formula is created to detect races where one party might have won or retained seats in the legislature through drawing district lines favorable to the party in power.

In a recent case challenging North Carolina's congressional districts, political scientist Simon Jackman suggested that an initial election efficiency gap of at least 7.5 percent in a state with more than 15 U.S. House districts should attract scrutiny. At the time, Democrats controlled the House while Republicans controlled the Senate.

Republican lawmakers have steadfastly defended the state districts lines as legal and fair, and noted that many GOP candidates have won in districts that Democratic in presidential elections.

Even with the new lines from previous year, Virginia's congressional district favors the GOP, the AP's analysis shows. Barely one-fourth of the new districts were labeled as competitive between Republicans and Democrats.

The statewide average share of votes Democrats received in each district was 52.35 percent, compared to 47.65 percent for Republicans.

GOP baseball shooter had list of names, including Rep. Brooks
Scalise, the No 3 US House Republican, arrived at the hospital via helicopter in shock, with intense internal bleeding, Sava said. Bailey was spotted on Friday in the Capitol, on crutches and out of uniform, accepting congratulations from fellow officers.

Two researchers who developed the efficiency gap say Kentucky's results are, statistically speaking, not much different than zero.

The chief architect of a Republican legislative redistricting plan has previously said politics played a key role in drawing lines, but in ways that helped incumbents in both parties. Del.

The AP used their method to calculate efficiency gaps for all states that held partisan House or Assembly elections for all of their districts in 2016. That results in a 47 percent efficiency gap heavily favoring Democrats, but both races were close, and if fewer than 5,000 votes had switched in either district, the efficiency gap would be almost even. They said factors other than gerrymandering could have contributed, including shifting political attitudes. Their mathematical model was cited last fall as "corroborative evidence" by a federal appeals court panel that struck down Wisconsin's Assembly districts as an intentional partisan gerrymander in violation of Democratic voters' rights to representation.

The national Republican State Leadership Committee, the force behind the party's surge in state legislative elections, attributes its victories to candidates who better represent their communities.

The efficiency gap is the subject of a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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